Changing Your Name Through Marriage

Regardless of gender, either party to a marriage can change his/her surname (family name) to that of the other.

Changing your name is optional

  • You will not need to do anything if you decide not to change your name.
  • Some organisations may want proof that you are married, in which case you will need to present a copy of your official marriage certificate (the one that proves that your marriage has been registered

If you decide to change your name

  • You will need to obtain an official certified marriage certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State in which the marriage took place
  • Many institutions/organisations will accept  a photocopy, certified by a JP or other official, of  the official marriage certificate obtained from an Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry,  as proof. 
  • The certificate presented to you on your wedding day (referred to by Centrelink and other agencies as the Celebrant or Church-issued certificate) will generally not be accepted by many institutions/organisations as it provides no proof that the marriage has been registered.

If you decide to combine names

If either (or both) of you wants to adopt a combination of both of your surnames, advice provided by different government entities is conflicting. According to the Passport Office, however, no legal name change is required so perhaps the best option is to change passports first in order to obtain photo ID in your new name.

What if you got married overseas?

If you marry in another country, your marriage will not be registered in Australia. In fact, it can't be. Most  institutions will  require an official change of name.  However, Queensland Transport will accept, as proof of change of name upon marriage, an official overseas Marriage Certificate  if you also present a category A document already in the married name or two category B documents in the married name. The overseas Marriage Certificate must show an official crest and be appropriately registered.

How to apply for an official marriage certificate

Proof of Identity documentation required when you apply for an official certificate is at a higher level than the documentation required to get married. However, (in Queensland) if you give your application to your celebrant to attach to the marriage papers, and the celebrant endorses the application, you do not have to send copies of ID documentation  I am happy to include your application for your marriage certificate together with your bank cheque, money order, or credit card authorisation.

You can also apply online or in person
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Phone: 1300 366 430 or +61 7 3035 1000 (international enquiries)
Physical Address:
Level 32, 180 Ann Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
(Office hours: 8.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday)
Postal address:
PO Box 15188
City East QLD 4002